Tips for Protecting Your Skin While Snorkeling, Bodyboarding, and Stand-Up Paddle Boarding

Snorkeling, bodyboarding, and stand-up paddle boarding are three of the best water sports you can try when you go on a trip to the beach. These intense activities will certainly make you love spending a lot of time in the water and under the sun. However, you must also keep in mind that staying too long under the sun can cause harm to your skin. Therefore, you should not forget to give your skin some sun protection.

Being exposed to the sun’s damaging UV radiation for a long period of time may cause sunburn, dry skin and hair, and other serious skin and health conditions. This is the reason why sun protection is vital for people who play water sports. There are many ways to protect your skin while doing these activities. So if you have plans on hitting the beach soon to try these intense activities, here are some of the best tips to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Wear Sun Protective Clothing

A woman wearing a wide-brimmed hat by a lake

For activities like snorkeling, bodyboarding, and stand-up paddle boarding, it’s important to choose shirts, rash guards, or dive suits that are UV protected. These clothes are designed for sun protection and are produced from a fabric rated for its ultraviolet protection factor or UPF.

When you browse through regular summer clothing, most of them only have a UPF of 8 or less. Since you’ll be spending a lot of time in the water and under the sun, it’s best to choose clothes that are designed for watersports with a higher UPF.

When doing intense watersports at the beach, it is advisable to wear full suits as they can give your whole body more protection from the sun. Aside from that, a full suit can also protect you from the low temperatures and possible scrapes from rocks and coral reefs.

Swim cap

Aside from wearing rash guards and suits, you can also wear a swim cap to avoid getting burnt on the top of your head. This is especially advisable for people who have thin hair.

A hat with a wide brim

If you’re not going inside the water, such as with stand-up paddle boarding, a hat should be on your head. Wear this whenever the sun is out, as it can protect the face, neck, and the whole head.

A tight-woven, wide-brimmed hat is best, though baseball caps equipped with neck flaps are also a good option.  Straw hats are better than no hat at all, but they do tend to let the sun through quite easily—so use them only when there’s no other option.

Pick the Best Time to Do Water Activities

Umbrellas providing shade at the beach

Another way to protect your skin from the sun is to plan your water sports activities when the sun is less intense. The best time to go out and do activities in the water is early morning and late afternoon because these are usually the times when the sun’s rays are not that strong.

Take a break

You should also know when to take a break and find shade so as not be too exposed to the sun for a long time. The sun’s heat between 10 am and 4 pm is not good for the skin, so during these times, it’s better to take a break and chill with your friends and family under the shade.

Choose the Best Sunscreen

a woman using sunscreen at the beach

Applying sunscreen before going under the sun is very important on a daily basis. It’s something that you shouldn’t forget especially when doing watersports. While you will be cooling off in the water, this doesn’t mean that you’re covered or protected from the sun’s rays. In fact, the water can sometimes work against you by intensifying the sun’s light as a magnifying glass would; therefore, you’ll need to find a quality sunscreen that will give you the ultimate sun protection.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re buying sunscreen to use when snorkeling, stand-up paddleboarding, or bodyboarding:

Water Resistant:

There are many kinds of sunscreen on the market today, but not all of them are created equally. People who play watersports should choose a sunscreen that has staying power even in the water. However, remember that there is no such thing as completely waterproof sunscreen. You usually only have two options to choose from:

  • Sunscreens that are water-resistant for 40 minutes
  • Sunscreens that are water-resistant for 80 minutes.

Your choice will depend on how long you plan to stay in the water. Of course, there’s always the option to reapply the sunscreen when you’re paddleboarding, but not for most other watersports. If you find that it’s time for a reapplication, the best way is to pause your activity, get back to shore or on a boat, and grab your sunscreen there.

Speaking of boats, it’s also important to protect your skin while on deck. You may want to start by checking out what is a wide-brimmed hat and what its benefits are for boating.

SPF Level:

When it comes to the sunscreen’s SPF level, you should choose those with an SPF level of 30 or higher. The amount you apply and the number of applications will depend on how long you’ll be staying under the sun. Sunscreens with an SPF level of 30 can protect your skin for about 2 hours, but it really depends on how fast your skin gets sunburned.


Sunscreens should be applied on the skin at least 30 minutes before you go under the sun. Make sure to apply a liberal amount to your skin and reapply it every hour or two.

It can be challenging to find the very best sunscreen for watersports. Make sure to conduct a patch test first to make sure there are no triggering allergens in the formula.


Snorkeling, bodyboarding, and stand-up paddle boarding are very enjoyable watersports. Of course, they will be more fun if you don’t end up getting sunburned skin. We hope the tips above will help you keep your skin protected on your next adventure. Along with this precaution, you may want to read this guide to getting outfitted with snorkeling gear. Having the right equipment and accessories can help you have the most enjoyable time with the fewest possible risks.